Canisius Golden Griffins

The Canisius College Golden Griffins are composed of 16 teams representing Canisius College in intercollegiate athletics. These teams include men's and women's basketball, cross country, track, lacrosse, soccer, and swimming and diving. Men's sports include baseball, ice hockey, and golf. Women's sports include volleyball, soccer, and softball. The Golden Griffins compete in the NCAA Division I and are members of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) for most sports, excluding men's ice hockey which competes in Atlantic Hockey.

Canisius Golden Griffins
UniversityCanisius College
ConferenceMetro Atlantic Athletic Conference, Atlantic Hockey
NCAADivision I
Athletic directorBill Maher
LocationBuffalo, New York
Varsity teams16
Basketball arenaKoessler Athletic Center
Baseball stadiumDemske Sports Complex
Other arenasLECOM Harborcenter
NicknameGolden Griffins
ColorsBlue and Gold[1]

Sports sponsored

Men's sports Women's sports
BasketballCross country
Cross countryLacrosse
Ice hockeySoccer
SoccerSwimming and diving
Swimming and divingTrack and field
Track and fieldVolleyball
† – Track and field includes both indoor and outdoor


In 2008, the men's baseball team won the regular season MAAC championship for the first time in its history with a 41-13 record. This broke the school record for wins in a single season. One season later, the team advanced to its first MAAC Championship game in program history.[2]

Men's lacrosse

In 2008, Canisius men's lacrosse won the MAAC tournament and earned its first ever bid to the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship tournament.[3]

Canisius again won the MAAC championship in 2012. Sitting at 2-7, The Griffs would win their final 2 regular season games to advance to the MAAC championship as the 3 seed. From there Canisius would avenge regular season losses to Detroit 12-10 and Siena 10-9 en route to their 2nd MAAC Championship and automatic qualifier. The Griffs would eventually fall to 2012 NCAA champion Loyola. In 2018 the Griffins would win the MAAC tournament after entering as a number 4 seed and get an autobid to the NCAA Tournament. The Griffins would fall to Robert Morris in the NCAA Tournament Play-in game by a score of 12-6. [4]


The Canisius College softball team recently won the 2009 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament, its 3rd consecutive title win. This marks the team's 11th trip to the NCAA tournament in the last 15 years. The softball team has consistently won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament.[5]

Former sports


Synchronized swimming

The Canisius synchronized swim team has been the 3rd place team in the nation since 2008, fielding several national champions in several categories each year. The team has been ECAC champions since 1996.


Canisius won the Canal Cup in 2008 and 2009. The cup commemorates the athletic rivalry between Canisius College and Niagara University. Canisius has won the trophy two times in the Canal Cup's three-year existence.[6]

Both Canisius and Niagara maintain rivalries with the other two Division I universities in western New York. The joint rivalry between the two and Saint Bonaventure University is known as the Little Three. The four-way rivalry between those three schools and the State University of New York at Buffalo (the only public, non-Catholic Division I school in the region) is known as the Big 4. (Of note, in men's basketball, both its current coach, former Buffalo coach Reggie Witherspoon, and his most recent predecessor, former Saint Bonaventure coach Jim Baron, previously coached at other Big 4 schools before joining Canisius.)


Canisius' mascot is the Golden Griffin. The college adopted it in 1932, after Charles A. Brady ('33) wrote a story in a Canisius publication honoring Buffalo's centennial year as a city. Brady wrote about Rene-Robert LaSalle's Le Griffon, the first European ship to sail the upper Great Lakes, built here in Buffalo. The name stuck, and Canisius' mascot was born.

According to, the griffin is a "mythical creature of supposed gigantic size that has the head, forelegs and wings of an eagle and the hindquarters, tail and ears of a lion." It represents values such as strength, vigilance, and intelligence, all of which befit a college and qualities that one would look for in students and athletes alike.

Pro-football venue

The College was also the home field of the Buffalo All-Americans of the early National Football League. Around 1917, Buffalo manager, Barney Lepper, signed a lease for the team to play their home games at Canisius College. The All-Americans played several of their games at Canisius before relocating to Bison Stadium in 1924.[7]


  1. "Canisius College Style Guide 2014". Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  2. "Baseball History & Records - The Official Web Site of Canisius College Athletics". 2008-05-06. Retrieved 2016-04-13.
  3. "Canisius routs VMI, earns MAAC championship and NCAA bid". May 4, 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-05-17. Retrieved 2008-05-05.
  4. "2012 MAAC Champions - The Official Web Site of Canisius College Athletics". Retrieved 2016-04-13.
  5. "Softball History & Records - The Official Web Site of Canisius College Athletics". 2015-09-14. Retrieved 2016-04-13.
  6. "Battle of the Bridge - The Official Web Site of Canisius College Athletics". Retrieved 2016-04-13.
  7. Miller, Jeffery (2002). Buffalo's Forgotten Champions. Archived from the original on 2010-09-22. Retrieved 2012-04-30.
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